Oprah’s Retail Store

Oprah is continuing to expand her empire as she plans on opening an Oprah-everything retail location in Chicago. I’ve really got no problem with Oprah-her show can be pretty decent at times and her generosity is legendary. I more so wonder why she felt the need to open such a store, and why the public will undoubtedly eat it up. Apparently most of the Oprah branded products are already available via her website, but it seems a retail location was needed to bring Oprah IPod covers to the masses.

People want to associate themselves with Oprah and her image I assume. I’m reminded of Vegas, with a store for every brand and concept including the Coca Cola Store, the M&M store (where admittedly I bought a Star Wars themed t-shirt), and scariest of all, the Celine Dion store.

This type of brand identity stuff really interests me as it’s beyond linking oneself to a brand of clothing that overall represents ones style, but it’s linking oneself to a product, and more so, a person. Is an Oprah t-shirt the same as a band t-shirt for the minivan crowd? Not sure. With her building schools in Africa and the all-smiles Angel network thing, perhaps it really is the same as wearing a political shirt or a your car with a witty bumper sticker. Somehow it seems so much glossier and money hungry though and I cannot pinpoint why.

While I’m quick to feel like this is seriously cheesy I have to wonder where the real differences lie. There’s a ton of research on brand identity stuff so perhaps the data is out there providing a little more insight.

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